The 10 most environmentally friendly countries in the world, according to expats

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Oregon Wildfire
An orange smoke-filled sky is seen above Estacada, Oregon, on September 9, 2020, as fires burn nearby.

The onslaught of wildfires in California serves as a wake up call for many Americans when it comes to climate change, with some people deciding to permanently leave the state.
More people could relocate in the coming years due to climate change, an investigation by ProPublica reveals.
Most climate-related moves and displacement happens within a country, but moving abroad is also a possibility.
Which country are expats happiest in, when it comes to the overall environment, as well as environmental policy? InterNations, a resource website for expats, interviewed some 15,000 people who left their country of birth to find out.
The top countries are Finland, Sweden, and Norway.
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The massive wildfires tearing through the Pacific Northwest — and the resulting air pollution that is so thick it’s spread across the entire US — is a climate change wakeup call for millions of Americans. 

For some Californians, the wildfires are enough for them to exit the state. It’s a glimpse of what economists, scientists, and insurance professionals alike say could be in our future: climate change migration, according to an investigation by ProPublica

While the United Nations says most climate-related displacement is within a country’s borders, some, especially the affluent, may consider moving to another country for bluer skies and cleaner air. 

InterNations, a resource website for expats, surveyed some 15,000 people who chose to leave their country of birth. Analysts asked them to rate their new home country on a variety of environmental factors, including their perception of the air quality, how strongly they think the government is tackling climate change, and rating local recycling and waste management efforts. Each factor was weighted and then countries were given an overall ranking. 

The US ranked 30th out of the 60 countries where people were surveyed, coming just behind Bahrain and before Panama. The low ranking was mainly because expats think the federal government does not care enough about climate change. 

These are the top 10 most eco-conscious countries, according to expats.

10. Luxembourg

Luxembourg
An American living in Luxembourg said the "access to nature for hiking and bicycling" was a big benefit of living there.

View the overall natural environment positively: 92%

Are happy with the air quality: 78% 

9. Canada

takakkaw falls
A Russian expat mentioned the "clean water and air" as some of her favorite things about Canada.

View the overall natural environment positively: 96% 

Think the Canadian population is interested in environmental issues: 71% 

8. Germany

Germany lockdown
Some 90% of expats rated the water and sanitation in the country positively.

View the overall natural environment positively: 90%

Are happy with the availability of environmentally friendly goods and services: 86%

7. New Zealand

new zealand
Some 79% of expats agree the population is very interested in environmental issues, vs. 48% globally.

View the overall natural environment positively: 96%

Agree the government takes climate change seriously: 85%

6. Denmark

Odense, Denmark - Drone Aerial - April 2020
A South African expat said that "the Danish are environmentally conscious. Organic food and products are easily available, and they are good with recycling."

View the overall natural environment positively: 87%

Are happy with the quality of country’s water and sanitation services: 93% 

5. Switzerland

switzerland lockdown quarantine yoga
Respondents mentioned the beautiful parks that pepper major cities as a huge plus.

View the country’s natural environment positively: 83%

Are happy with the air quality: 91% 

4. Austria

austria coronavirus
A Philippine expat said that the country is "the most organized, the most environmentally friendly, and the most beautiful country" he has lived in so far.

View the country’s natural environment positively: 97%

Are happy with the country’s waste management and recycling efforts: 91% 

3. Norway

norway best country to be a kid
A Ukrainian expat said that "the beautiful nature, the clean air and tap water, and the focus on the environment" are what she enjoys most about life in Norway.

View the overall natural environment positively: 93%

Agree the government takes climate change seriously: 89% 

2. Sweden

Sweden reopening
Some 93% of expats rate the availability of clean energy and the ability to save energy positively.

View the overall natural environment positively: 95%

Are happy with the availability of environmentally friendly goods and services: 88%

1. Finland

Helsinki
Finland came in 1st place for a variety of factors, including its air quality, waste management, and the government's perceived commitment to the environment.

View the overall natural environment positively: 98%

Are happy with the air quality: 95%

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